Inside the Artist’s Studio with Adam LaPorta

In 2001 I was given a Pentax k1000 camera as a gift from my parents. It was a send off gift as I was headed to art school that year.

Little did I know that I would always be drawn to the lens.

Over the past eight months I have realized the gift I was given was too far removed from my life, and in January 2018 I stepped back into my role as an artist.

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Artist Adam LaPorta

I wanted to reignite an idea I had from 2006. The idea related to my earlier macro works, which I always wanted to take it to an elevated level.

Capturing patterns and shape at macro and microscopic magnifications distorted the placement or recognition of something someone so commonly understood, to becoming unfamiliar with it.

Below are images shot from my years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, 2004 – 2006.

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

I have always been intrigued by the repetitious and structured patterns life so beautifully creates. We pass by so many places/items daily and never think to give something a different look…a new perspective.

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

In taking my process to an elevated level I began to explore life from new heights. Turning a path someone so commonly walks on, into something graphic and different, giving them a new perspective.

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The artist getting a new perspective

What makes this process so exciting to me is the ability to remove our awareness of place, taking a viewer’s eye into patterns and shapes by abstracting space.

The surroundings of color, objects, weather, and seasons all play an important role influencing my canvas.

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“Unknown #3″ by Adam LaPorta, included in the Land & Sea exhibition

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There is still so much to learn about my process, especially finding out how different seasons will influence what I capture and why I want to capture an area.

Right now I am just grateful to be creating once again. I have many ideas I would like to bring to fruition. If I continue to be consistent with my work then my ideas will continue to consistently grow into stronger creations!


Adam LaPorta is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. His photographs “Unknown #1–3″ won a juror’s choice award. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with June Szabo

Most of my work begins with the natural world, often in a particular landscape. Sometimes a place finds me and sometimes I look for a location that illustrates the idea I am working on. I spend many hours exploring and researching the history and geology that formed the place I have chosen. I find myself making comparisons and creating metaphors between the events that shaped the land and the actions that shape our lives.

Artist June Szabo

Artist June Szabo

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Inspiration

To understand what each place has to teach me, I write about the connections I make in poetry and prose. The following contemplation on the purpose of scars was a comparison between glacial formations (scars on the land) and the scars that we carry.

Relics of Our Story – Mendon
June B W Szabo

Considering the damage we do to ourselves and others;
I looked to the landscape to ponder the purpose of scars.
Above and below the surface is a record of events that have left a lasting impression:
Kettles, kames and eskers, are divots, knobs and welts,
caverns, caves and sinkholes are mania and despair.
Forgotten and remembered these marks and inklings are the relics of our story,
scars and impressions resolved and unresolved.
When we stop scratching, scraping and digging like a glacier,
our wounds begin to heal.

"Relics of our Story – Mendon"

“Relics of our Story – Mendon”

The process I use to create my sculpture is also a metaphor for a connection between nature and human behavior. The layers of wood, which give my forms depth and dimension, reflect growth in nature and the layering of the earth. Wood sculptures are formed by cutting and stacking lumber, which is joined with glue, clamps and wooden dowels. Each layer in a landscape sculpture represents an elevation on a topographical map.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

In addition to wood sculptures, such as the one seen in Land & Sea, I also weave. Weaving creates thousands of connections and intersections. I warp my loom with copper wire and weave panels that are folded, pleated and bent into three dimensional forms. These bonds are sometimes unseen, but necessary for the final woven product to exist. They are a metaphor for the connections that hold our earth together.

Weaving

Weaving

Weaving

Weaving

For me each process has come to represent and illustrate the interrelated, interdependence of all things.

Comparison is the estimation of similarities and differences. Metaphor suggests a likeness as we speak about one thing as if it were another. My sculptures are reflections on questions that occur to me as I consider our place in the world. They take the shape of landscapes and natural forms. They may include an area that covers inches or hundreds of miles. The sculptures are not exact replicas of a particular place or thing, but partial abstractions representing ideas that surface as I consider each place and how it was created. They are comparisons between the forces and forms found in nature to human inclination and behavior.


June Szabo is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jim DeLucia

I have always been creative as far back as I can remember. It wasn’t until I went to college that I began to paint. I mean really paint. I earned my BFA in 2002 and didn’t officially become a full-time artist until 2013.  Soon after, I shifted into the role of stay-at-home dad and nighttime painter. And here we are.

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My current studio set up, my basement.

These are my favorite brush sizes and palette knife shape.

These are my favorite brush sizes and palette knife shape.

My painting Salt Life is a loose representation based off a photo from a mini vacation to Florida. I was visiting a friend who moved there from Rochester. He would always say “It’s the salt life, Jim.” I don’t really venture out into water, but there is something about the ocean that just gets me. Always changing. That’s attractive to me.

Salt Life, Oil on paper.

Salt Life, Oil on paper.

All my work is oil paint and graphite on canvas or paper. My style and subject matter has seemed to change over the years but the materials have remained. Landscapes , dogs, patterns and pink are the usual suspects in my work. I’m kind of all over the place.

Stella, Oil and colored pencil on canvas. Current pet portrait work in progress.

Stella, Oil and colored pencil on canvas. Current pet portrait work in progress.

I am currently painting pet portraits, figuring out Adobe Illustrator, and trying to finish a children’s book influenced by my daughter’s pink boots.

Pink Boots #14, graphite and colored pencil on paper. A page from children's book project.

Pink Boots #14, graphite and colored pencil on paper. A page from children’s book project.

You can see more of my work at  www.jimdelucia.com or @jimdelucia on Instagram.


Jim DeLucia is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ruth LaGue

I grew up in Alaska, awed by the incredible vastness of the wild landscape. Gazing at the expansive skies and majestic mountains as a girl, I recognized that I was a small part of something much larger than myself.

"Migration" by Ruth LaGue, Best In Show winner in Land and Sea at Main Street Arts.

“Migration” by Ruth LaGue, Best In Show winner in Land and Sea at Main Street Arts.

Traveling through India in my twenties, I became consumed by the landscape of the spirit — that limitless interior universe that lives in each of us. The marriage of the two experiences ignited a lifelong quest to connect the outer and inner within my paintings.

To me, landscapes represent fragments of time that will never be again; intimate moments of communion with something greater than myself; quiet meditations to which I bear witness.

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Work by Ruth LaGue

The most exciting part of the creative process is observing the juxtaposition of colors and textures as they form a depth of field — how a simple dark line next to a light field of color can come alive.

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Ruth in her studio

I use palette knives, mixing colors on the surface of the canvas and using visual economy in my work, reducing the landscape to its barest form.

I rarely come to the studio with an idea of what I’m going to paint but rather listen for the inspiration from within.

I always wanted to go to art school. I applied and was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design to study graphic design; after graduation I began a career as a graphic designer and later as a web designer. Ten years ago, I found a studio space at the Gorse Mill Studios in Needham, MA and began painting. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to explore two very different aspects of my professional life.

I can be found online at www.laguewax.com, on Instagram: @ruthlague and on Facebook: @Laguewax


Ruth LaGue is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. Ruth’s painting “Migration” won Best In Show. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with KS Lack

I started working with letterpress almost eight years ago, when I was looking for a way to print a mixed-media piece for a gallery in Brooklyn. I fell in love with the medium:  the richness of the inks, the juxtaposition of typography and imagery, how different paper types interact with ink and pressure—the list goes on. There are so many ways to create something unique, even if you are making multiples.

I also write poetry and both facets of my work have a profound influence on one another. There is poetry in presswork. Nothing makes you understand the weight of words like laying them out by hand.

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Squall and Sunset, the two pieces featured in the Land and Sea exhibition, were printed at the London Centre for Book Arts. The prints were created on a Stephenson Blake press, a manufacturer that is common in the UK but rare in the US. For a pressure print, the ink is applied to a base instead of onto the rollers. The paper is then rolled over the ink, and the weight of the press is what makes the print. The cylinder on this Stevie B is very heavy, which makes for great pressure. As for inks, the LCBA has a wonderful collection of vintage, oil-based inks that were great fun to play with.

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Printers love this Stevie B model because it has a very wide bed. This let me print on 22-inch squares (I used Redeem 130gsm, a 100% recycled paper), which are quite large for a single letterpress page. I printed each piece four times; the paper became so supersaturated with ink that it took over a week to dry.

Prints drying on the racks

Prints drying on the racks

Finished prints

Finished prints

Then I took the plunge and cut each sheet into four strips.

Cut down to size

Cut down to size

While living in the UK, I was particularly struck by the vitality of the countryside. Everything seemed so lush—the sea off Cornwall, fields of grass and hay with poppies growing by the side of the road, summer sunsets and rainy days—it was all on my mind as I mixed and applied the ink.

The individual strips were getting overwhelmed when mounted with traditional matboard. I decided to use acrylic for the front and back, allowing the vibrancy of the inks to stand out. I also like how the colors seem to float within the frame when hung on a wall. 

RBR  for R&T

RBR for R&T

Green Flash

Green Flash

As a person with a long-term disability, I find there is a lot of synergy between my art and how I try to live my life. Working on a press could be all about its limitations. Instead, I find that the structure inherent in presswork grants me greater freedom by giving me something to lean on. I may not always be able to hold a pen, but I can create something beautiful by working within the constraints of the press in order to transcend them.

You can find out more about my work at my website: www.zitternpress.com.


KS Lack is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Dain Q. Gore

Dain Gore, artist in residence during the month of June 2018 at Main Street Arts, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Dain some questions about his work and studio practice:

Artist Dain Q. Gore

Artist Dain Q. Gore

Q: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Phoenix and live in Laveen, AZ. I have been there my whole life. I keep thinking what it would be like to move but in my travels I have yet to find a Goldilocks Zone for that (except maybe Japan). I have an MFA in painting (2009) and BFA in drawing (2000) from ASU. When I’m not making art for upcoming shows I like to perform puppetry at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in the Puppet Slams.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I was just telling a friend that the only good days I really remember about grade school were when I could draw, especially when it was “rainy day schedule.” As a small kid, there really was nothing much else of significance for me than drawing and collecting action figures and video games. Socialization came much later in life.

"Histrionics of Medicine" by Dain Q. Gore

“Histrionics of Medicine” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I’ve also been talking about this a lot lately. My perspective now has been oddened, as peers are relating experiences that I simply did not have. For some reason I feel like I had some kind of plot armor, or that as I recall it, knew I could accept or reject anything tasked of me. This was best illustrated when a professor gave me a long list of corrections to my painting, followed by, “Or not…just keep painting!” This became a running joke at critiques but stuck from then on. This probably made the most sense of anything I ever learned in art school. Any kind of actual learning—not mimicking, not repeating–I think involves a moment where you simply have to do and stop thinking.

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“Tardinaut” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I do! I am currently a faculty adjunct at South Mountain Community and Phoenix College. In addition, I have been substituting at Metro Arts, an arts-based high school in Phoenix. I’ve also been starting to do workshops based on some of my specific niche areas of interest in art, such at the Exquisite Corpse  and painting board gaming miniatures. I also perform puppetry, as mentioned above, which often intervenes into my exhibitions.

"Exquisite Corpse" by Dain Q. Gore

“Exquisite Corpse” pieces by Dain Q. Gore

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is colorful, experimental, playful, image-ridden and fragile.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My process very often involves turning on some music (I like art/prog rock) or Coast to Coast AM or an audiobook (currently trying to finish Snow Crash) to get started. I get out a piece of foam core and draw out a basic shape using a white China marker, paint directly onto the surface (sometimes with gesso or medium first).

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goals were initially to experiment further, but now I have a list of several things I would like to play with that may still involve my process.

ArtClocky

“Art Clocky” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have so many too pick just one: James Ensor, Philip Guston, Martin Wong, Wayne White. There are so many great ones on Instagram now, too. I would have to say James Ensor overall, though, because his life echoes his art so closely in such a surreal way and feels like an echo of my life and art, too.

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
As mentioned, music can be crucial to getting me out of my own head and on to painting surfaces. I love DEVO, Blue Oyster Cult, Oingo Boingo, Idiot Flesh (and its numerous incarnations), Father John Misty, Of Montreal, Talking Heads, Neon Indian, Stereolab, Adam and the Ants, Al Stewart…

"Avatar of Kek" by Dain Q. Gore

“Avatar of Kek” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Do you collect anything?
I “used to” collect action figures. I have a hopeless fascination with them, and it certainly has influenced my aesthetic choices and being a puppeteer. I also collect (and sometimes actually paint) the aforementioned miniatures.

Q: What’s next for you?
As soon as I get back to AZ I have to start working on a Puppet Slam piece for GenCon, two shows I will be featured in at Eric Fischl Gallery in September and Fine Arts Complex in October, in addition to the monthly AZ Puppet Slams!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I can be found on Instagram @daintist and at www.daingore.com


Dain will be teaching two workshops during his residency at Main Street Arts. The first will take place on Saturday, June 16 from 12 to 3 pm and will focus on the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse—a spontaneous, group-collaborated creature where the only limit is your own imagination (see image above). Perfect for a group of friends! Sign up here.

The second workshop, taking place on Saturday, June 23 from 12 to 3 pm, will give participants to create puppet-like paintings that Dain calls “INGs”. Somewhere between two-dimensional paintings and sculptures, these objects represent an element of play as well as a thoughtful approach to the layered sensibility of painting (see images above). Sign up here.

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Scott McMahon

Scott McMahon, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of June 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Scott some questions about his work and studio practice:

Scott McMahon

Scott McMahon

Q: Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Killingworth, CT. I’ve been making artwork, in some capacity since I was a child. When I was 5 or 6, my mother was taking art classes and working toward a degree in art. I would often tag along with her to different art classes and studio sessions. What I remember most from that was the process and the feel and smell of art materials and the simple joy of creating something unique.

I took art classes in high school and decided to try a photography class, then taught by the auto shop teacher. He was probably a great auto shop teacher, but knew very little about photography. What he did instill in his students was the idea of experimentation and developing a personal and creative voice. I spent hours in the darkroom, experimenting with the process, solarizing prints, hand-applying developer, printing multiple negatives, pulling developed prints from the trash, re-exposing them, etc. This is when I discovered that photography was akin to painting and printmaking.

After high school I moved to Philadelphia, PA and received my BFA in photography from The University of the Arts. I then went on to receive my MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA. I am currently Associate Professor of Art and teach photography at Columbia College in Columbia, MO.

Scott with 360 degree pinhole camera

Scott with 360 degree pinhole camera

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is primarily photographic and I use a variety of 19th century processes and techniques, such as cyanotype, gum bichromate, salt printing and tintype. My preferred method of generating images is with the pinhole camera. I typically construct my own cameras with a particular project in mind. I am drawn to the element of chance and experimentation that is inherent in pinhole imagery. Subject matter varies in my work. I am drawn to recording the human figure or presence within a landscape or other locations. I am interested in showing the ephemeral qualities of disparate subjects, recording things that may appear both absent and present. I have always been interested in how the photographic image can “capture” and “preserve” moments in time, but yet it can be just as fragile and fleeting as our own experience and existence.

Breathe

“Breathe” by Scott McMahon

Deluge

“Deluge” by Scott McMahon

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My process generally starts with some kind of preconceived idea or thought that I feel moved to make an image about. Sometimes a residual image from a dream that stays with me over the course of a few days influences the start of building a photograph. I try to be observant to what is around me and recognize things I consistently come back to. I keep a visual journal of preliminary photographs, sketches, influences, ideas and examples of work by other artists.

Once the framework and structure for an image or series of images is there, I choose a process that seems fitting for the concept. Most of the processes I use are quite labor intensive and time consuming. I like the idea of images needing time to simmer. Exposure times can take several seconds or several minutes, developing and printing also requires time and patience. I work slowly and savor the time it takes to nurture an image through the process.

Another part of my process is working collaboratively with my dear friend and fellow artist, Ahmed Salvador. We have similar sensibilities and ideas about what a photographic image is and how it can be made. Some of our projects include: Bioluminescent Series. This project involves capturing the light emitted by fireflies onto photographic film and paper. Response Time is a project that involves sending photographic materials, wrapped in light-proof bags or tinfoil that have been riddled with pinholes, cuts and tears. We then mail these packages to each other. The photographic material receives various amounts of exposure through the mail.

Response Time

Response Time (In collaboration with Ahmed Salvador)

Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence  (In collaboration with Ahmed Salvador)

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
The OFF button on my Macbook…no, just joking. A box with a hole in it, of course.

Q: Do you collect anything?
Surprisingly, I collect cameras. The oldest one I have is made by Rochester Optical Co. and it’s from 1898. I love camera construction and the mechanical components. I also see cameras as beautiful objects and small sculptures. I also collect photographs, mostly from the 19th Century (tintypes, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, cabinet cards, etc.). The photographs are generally of people I have no relation or connection to, I know nothing about them aside for what is revealed in their portrait. I’m interested in the mystery of these, why their visages ended up an antique store, flea market or junk shop and the possible stories and narratives they can tell us. I share this collection with the History of Photography course I teach as well.

Luna

“Luna” by Scott McMahon

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I can’t choose one…so I’ll choose six…Video artist, Bill Viola for taking us to places within our consciousness that we should visit more often. Photographer, Sally Mann for the truth, beauty and sheer force of her imagery. Composer, author and philosopher, John Cage for being John Cage. Painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, Anselm Kiefer for confronting a dark past through layers of oil, straw, tar, shellac, murk and mire. Photographer and Optician, Ralph Eugene Meatyard for having an amazing name and creating some of the most haunting photographs in the history of the medium. Robert and Shanna ParkeHarrison for their collaborative genius in creating poetic imagery that deals with loss and human struggle.

"Dwelling" by Scott McMahon

“Dwelling” by Scott McMahon

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goal is to work on a few different projects. I’ll continue working on a series of camera obscura images called “Daily Dust.” I’ll also be experimenting with a few new pinhole cameras that have multiple apertures. I’ll definitely be exploring the surrounding area for locations to photograph. A recent interest of mine has been learning about areas in upstate New York where Spiritualism got its start in the United States during the 1840’s. Hydesville (now Arcadia, NY) and Lily Dale have been on my radar of places to visit and possibly make photographs of or about for some time now. I’d like to keep an open mind and see where things take me, as Hans Richter said: “give chance a chance.”

"Visitor" by Scott McMahon

“Visitor” by Scott McMahon

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ll be part of an exhibition at Sager Braudis Gallery in Columbia, MO this September. I hope to exhibit some of the work I’ll be making during the residency.

Q: Where else can we find you?
www.scottmcmahonphoto.com/
www.fireflyletters.com/
vimeo.com/79811041


Scott is teaching a pinhole photography workshop during his residency at Main Street Arts on Saturday, June 9 from 12 to 4 pm. Participants will construct and photograph with their own pinhole cameras. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Sign up for the workshop here.